George W. Heath III
 
July 4, 2010 | George W. Heath III

WINE TIP OF THE WEEK - Opening Champagne or Sparkling Wine

Some customers seem to be intimidated opening Champagne or sparkling wine bottles but it's really quite easy. There should not be a loud "pop" when the cork is pulled along with a great stream of wine and bubbles exploding from the bottle, unless of course you're going for effect and you don't mind losing half your wine and cleaning the floor, ceiling and table after the explosion.

Place the bottle flat on a table, remove the foil which will expose the cage (the wire thingy that holds the cork from popping on its own).
Next (I'm right handed) place the left hand on the neck of the bottle with the thumb on top of the cork holding firmly. Unwrap the cage keeping the thumb on top, quickly remove the cage and replace your thumb back on the cork holding it firmly. Pick the bottle up (with the thumb still holding the cork) gasp the cork with the left hand holding firm and stationary. Grasp the bottom of the bottle with the right hand twist the bottle not the cork.

Once the cork has dislodge the pressure in the bottle will definitely want to expedite the uncorking but don't let it. Hold firm with the left hand and fight the bubbles easing the cork out slowly, there should be a very light hiss and no "Grand Pop". I also find it useful to let the bottle sit open for five minutes or so, so at the first pour you get less foam in the glass.

George W. Heath III
Bacchus Wine Consultant
Twitter: @BacchusWine 

George W. Heath III
 
April 6, 2010 | George W. Heath III

WINE TIP OF THE WEEK - A Cork is Just A Cork

If you are ordering a bottle of wine at a restaurant the server should hand you the cork after the bottle is opened. You may think the proper thing to do is smell the cork and if you do, it will smell like a cork and doing so gives you no information about the wine pro or con.

Taste and smell the wine to ensure its quality; the reason the cork is handed to the patron is to check if the name on the cork matches the name on the bottle label, if they're different send the bottle back.

Remember, a cork is just a cork!

George W. Heath III
Bacchus Wine Consultant
Twitter: @BacchusWine

George W. Heath III
 
March 11, 2010 | George W. Heath III

What Is The Best Wine Glass for YOU?

Wine glasses are important, but how important is the question. A good glass is essential in exploring all nuances in wine and getting the senses to recognize them; but for enjoying wine day to day, with meals or just kicking back, the glass need not be expensive.

I've spent some major cash on good stemware and good stemware is thin and delicate -- two attributes you would expect to see in pricey glassware. In my home thin and delicate is, well, too thin and too delicate. I've broken every pricey wine glass I've ever owned. It's not that I'm overly clumsy (just a bit clumsy), but these glasses are big-time fragile. One cracked while I was wiping it dry with a dish towel!

After spending a small fortune on good stemware and realizing sweeping up broken glass and throwing it in the trash was like tossing out a couple of $20 bills, I decided I had to find a "good" glass that was inexpensive -- two words that usually aren't related.

Fusion Stemware is a company that fuses crystal with magnesium, creating a light yet strong wine glass. They run about $50 for a set of four and come in many styles. While not overly expensive, that's not cheap, either. They are, however, very durable. At Bed Bath & Beyond I found a set of four glasses for $9.99. They're thin and delicate, and for everyday use, I prefer the Chardonnay glass. This glassware is also fragile, and yes I've broken a couple, but it's easier to part with a $2.50 glass than it is to replace a $20 a glass!

George W. Heath III
Bacchus Wine Consultant
Twitter: @BacchusWine

George W. Heath III
 
February 16, 2010 | George W. Heath III

WINE TIP OF THE WEEK - Wine is for Closers!

Some traditions are hard to change. I've had customers refused to buy a wine because it had a screw cap and not a cork despite the quality of the wine.

Does a screw cap mean cheap? Well, thirty years ago perhaps it did and of course premium wines would never think to use such a "cheap" solution.

Times and technology do change and now many very good wines are being sealed with metal closures and more wineries are using them daily.

One reason and perhaps the best reason for a winery to use screw caps is: Less spoilage and virtually no corked wines. Personally, I like the cork with all its aura and ambiance but I like the screw cap for different reasons......... shear convenience of opening the bottle without the need of a corkscrew and the ease of sealing the bottle.

Screw caps may seem less classy than the cork but Stelvlin, a company that manufactures caps, came up with a unique metal closure that doesn't look like a screw cap. Reservations concerning screw cap closures due to the "stigma of cheap" is destine to fade; the future holds that the onus screw caps have been subject to will vanish proportionately as wine lovers learn the juice under the cap is good and can be very good.

My tip..............Do not over look the wine bottles with screw caps, you could miss a fantastic opportunity to experience a new and exciting wine.

George W. Heath III

Bacchus Wine Consultant

Twitter: @BacchusWine

 
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